The long-serving chief of state protocol, Retired Lt. Col Rose Kabuye, who was dropped from her position on September 3, 2010 has been accused by his former boss, President Paul Kagame, as someone who always posed to be a hero.
Kabuye was at the centre of a media and diplomatic storm when she was arrested in Germany and extradited to France in November 2008 based on contested indictments by a French judge.
The arrest caused a diplomatic furor, with African organizations condemning the arrest, which was greeted by street protests in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
Rwanda withdrew its ambassador to Germany, and ordered Berlin’s ambassador in Kigali to leave over the row.
When Kabuye was released, she received a heroic welcome to her country which has managed to challenge what Kigali called ‘Imperialism’ and continued her office as a chief of state protocol until recently when she was dropped without any details about the RPF comrade.
When the cabinet dropped her, she was replaced by Kalisa Tunga. Her former boss, President Paul Kagame said in a meeting with Intelligence officers recently, that after Rose Kabuye was released in France, she developed a pretentious attitude that disturbed him.
According to our sources who attended the November 5, 2010 meeting at the ministry of defence, President Kagame cautioned the force to be united and focused on the cause, and to keep away from arrogance like “Rose Kabuye, who wrongly thought that she was a hero. No one becomes a hero by herself. Anyone who does wrong in this country will be punished.”
Referring to Emmanuel Habyarimana , Theogene Rudasingwa, Barthazar Ndengeyinka, Kayumba Nyamwasa, Alphonse Furuma, and Patrick Karegyeya, President Kagame said that they once lived in the RDF family, and just like any other family, the RDF tried to counsel them but instead they chose to live as individuals and that this is precisely why they are living a shameful life.
“Rose agreed to be transferred to France because she wanted to prove her innocence, both for herself and for the government to challenge the French indictments. At least that is what we believed in, but, recently she proved to have a different vision.” Kagame told more than three hundred officers.
“Individuals will come and go, but the family will always remain,” he said.
According to this source, Kagame gave the example of when he was on a state visit to Burkina Faso, Rose Kabuye posed in pictures with the two leaders, President Kagame and his counterpart President Braise Compaure, causing the local media to run her picture on the front page of almost every local paper.
“I advised her to do her job in humility and stay back to avoid showing off, and she replied that she is always victimised and asked whether she is the one who shot the plane to be jailed in France?” Kagame said.
Kabuye is one of nine senior Rwandan officials indicted three years ago by France’s leading anti-terrorism judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière.
During President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to Rwanda on February 25, Kagame said that he himself warned Rose Kabuye to keep a low profile, and one day before the visit, Kagame’s staff also gave her that reminder. Kabuye, however, told the staff that she had arranged a press conference with French journalists.
“You can ask Lt Con Gishaija here, Rose told me in the meeting that she was a victim of the crime she never committed, and she went ahead asking me when will her victimization have to stop?”
“Rose has developed this arrogance of doing things outside the system, trying to mobilise the media for her fame and disrespecting her colleagues,” Kagame narrated. “What does she do now?” Kagame asked in the meeting. “Which type of private business is she doing? Nothing.” he said.
When Rose Kabuye was arrested on a state mission in Frankfurt and transferred to France to face controversial terrorism charges for bringing down Habyarimana’s plane, sources in the French government revealed that, shortly after, Rwandan security services arrested and kidnapped three French Intelligence operatives in Kigali and Bujumbura.
The French government tasked Bernard Kushner to secure the release of the French operatives using his personal relations with Paul Kagame. President Kagame gave two conditions: that all charges be dropped against him and his closest aids, including Lt Con. Rose Kabuye, and that diplomatic relations resume.
After lengthy negotiations, France agreed to release Lt Con. Rose Kabuye, restart the investigations into the shooting down of President Habyarimana’s plane and resume the diplomatic relations. In return, Rwanda released three French intelligence operatives.
“Kabuye probably thought that she won that case alone, but working as one in one system is the best way to go. I hear the media saying all Generals are under custody. Yes, if you make a mistake accept the responsibility,” Kagame added